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Eating non-stop in Penang

29/12/2019

In the previous article, I talked about the Unforgettable Perakannan meal at Kebaya, a place where the dishes made me really impressed. And this article is called “Eating non-stop in Penang” because indeed there were many good places to make my mother and I always full.

Sushi Kitchen – a modest vegetarian sushi restaurant in the heart of Penang 

In the middle of a place filled with Chinese – Indian – Malay – Peranakan dishes, Japanese cuisine has a very modest beauty. And the small, 20-seat restaurant with only vegetarian sushi seems to make the modest level of Japanese cuisine increase many times. However, Sushi Kitchen is still a highly appreciated destination on Tripadvisor, making me extremely curious to bring my Mom here.

The style of the restaurant was nothing special, or I could say it was totally normal. However, the menu, even only full of vegetarian dishes, but only reading the description made me drool, and I only wished for a bottomless stomach and a huge pocket to try all the dishes.

Seaweed salad had only a few ingredients but tasted incredible.

Very delicate vegetable sushi.

I liked this dish very much. Porridge simmered for a long time, very fine porridge, cooked vegetables, sprinkled with fragrant black sesame.

MING XIANG TAI pastry shop

When visiting George Town, you might ignore any place, but definitely not MING XIANG TAI PASTRY SHOP!

Ming Xiang Tai opened in 1979 with the desire to preserve the culture of hand-made pastries and traditional pies and biscuits of Guangdong. I was drawn to the sweet scent of the eggs stewed with herbal tea and the pies, and also because of my curiosity to see so many people lining up near the entrance, and even because of the sign with all Chinese that I didn’t understand at all.

The pies were beautifully golden brown. I liked salty pies and wanted to try egg tarts, so I bought a chicken pie and an egg tart to try. My mistake that day was not to eat those immediately after buying, but waited until getting to the airport to eat, then regretted not buying dozens of more boxes of these pies to bring back to Vietnam because there were types of cakes that could be kept for over 20 days.

The tart had a thick, spongy, hard crust but when I took a bite, it was very soft and almost melted in my mouth. The egg filling was not too sweet and greasy, but delicious. The chicken pie had a fragrant thin crust when I tasted the filling, I wanted to scream in the middle of the airport. In Saigon, even in some of the best Chinese restaurants, I still couldn’t find such delicious pie.

The best LAKSA noodle bowl in Penang

Laksa is said to be the soul food of Penang. It’s a bowl of wide round noodles with the broth which has the sour taste from tamarind, the sweetness from well-cooked mackerel, the spiciness from chili, and the fragrance from the raw vegetables. I saw laksa being sold everywhere but honestly, I didn’t find its fragrance very attractive because in the popular restaurants, this dish still had a fishy smell. When I went to Edelweiss to drink coffee, seeing this dish on the menu, I was determined to give it a try. And I somewhat believed that the food in such a fancy cafe would be delicious.

The restaurant was designed with an Asian mixed with European style, so the laksa dish was definitely not the traditional dish but the taste of the dish was raised to an international level … to serve its foreign customers. I always like food cooked in the traditional way, but I also like dishes cooked in another way which is more elegant, more refined and more interesting. The laksa bowl here convinced me completely. So delicious!

Seafood party at BALI HAI seafood market

I called it “seafood market” because when coming here, the diners are allowed to choose the fresh seafood like they are shopping, but in fact, Bali Hai is a big and famous seafood restaurant in Penang, less than 1km away from Gerney Plaza – the long-term commercial center.

Penang 4

The restaurant with a thatched roof is located on Gurney Road. It has a beach view, including large bamboo tables for families of 4 to 10 people and red Chinese lanterns hung on the ceiling. Its service team wear T-shirt uniforms and act like in popular restaurants. However, there were many types of imported seafood and high-quality seafood which were big-sized, firm and fresh.

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My mother and I walked into the restaurant and just wished we could immediately mobilize 10 people to sit at that big table (if so, we could have eaten a lot of dishes because all the seafood was so big that we would probably be full after eating a few dishes. Moreover, in places like this, it is always cheaper to go in a group of many people). I looked at the seafood here to guess it will be very expensive because in the beach cities of Vietnam – the seafood paradise, the seafood with such quality is also expensive. But because of the food blogger career (eat to tell everyone), so I dared to order. For that meal, my mother and I spent more than 3 million (VND). The meal included grilled scallops with cheese, Alaskan crab claws with chili sauce, roasted shrimp with five spices, fish in oyster sauce, stir-fried vegetables, and a big bottle of Asahi beer.

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It was a satisfying meal because I love seafood the most in the world. The meats of scallops, crabs, shrimps, and fish were very firm and sweet. The way of seasoning was not excellent but it’s to taste, tending to be the Chinese cooking with lots of oil and strong flavors. It didn’t seem to suit my taste but I had no complaint. I looked around to see everyone eating well and chatting happily (even a bit noisy). There was almost no vacant table in the restaurant.

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Two days later I came across another seafood restaurant right in the old town of George Town, on Lebuh Chulia Street, I looked at the menu to see the price was much softer, but of course, there was not much fresh seafood. The hotel staff at my hotel said we could catch the taxi to Batu Ferringhi beach in the afternoon to watch the sunset, hang out in the night market and eat seafood at the restaurants along the beach with better prices. The Uber driver I met once told me that if I wanted to eat cheap seafood, I had to drive a long distance to the beach that only local people ate (she forgot the name of the beach). But because the sea had many jellyfishes this season, my mother and I had no intention of going to the beach, so we did not beg her to try to remember the beach’s name. In general, try if you crave for seafood, or want to see how the local people cook seafood, otherwise, wait until you go to Phu Quoc, Vung Tau, Saigon, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Da Nang, … to eat until you are stuffed!

Alternatively, you can search for some food courts to try a variety of foods at the same time to save time, or go to Gurney Plaza – a shopping center whose dining floor has many food and culinary brands that worth a try.  

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